Tag Archives: BlogHer

Five fabulous food bloggers #clever5

chopping vegetablesThanks to Trop 50 for sponsoring my writing about fabulous bloggers. This year Trop50 is granting 50 fabulous wishes. Click here to enter for a chance to win $1,000 to help grant a friend's wish!

More than just “good enough” food bloggers

A while back there was a discussion about food blogging at BlogHer, Is Food Blogging too Hard? I commented that there’s nothing wrong with being a “good enough” food blogger – especially those of us who have jobs, do freelance work, or are just busy taking care of our families. Many of us don’t have the talent and energy to create yummy original recipes. Or years of experience in taking gorgeous food photographs. Or the fortitude to do a crock pot recipe every day for a year. And that’s OK. If we can manage to post a few recipes (original or not), and take a quick snapshot for our blog before we serve what we cooked up to our kids, then we’re doing alright.

Yet there are fabulous food bloggers out there who do it all. They inspire me even though we may have different food and blogging philosophies. Frankly, I’m amazed how lucky I am to call these women friends.

Alanna Kellogg of A Veggie Venture and The Kitchen Parade 

There would be no On a Diet at This Mama Cooks! without Alanna. A few years ago, Alanna and I had a friendly disagreement about what I was featuring here on my then neglected blog – other people’s recipes that I hadn’t tried and had no intention of doing so. (Yes, it was lazy food blogging at its best.) I reasoned with her that no one wanted to read diet recipes. Or did they? It was a light bulb moment for me and This Mama Cooks! On a Diet was born. Alanna and I met soon afterwards at BlogHer 2007 in Chicago and I’ve always been grateful for her friendship – and for giving me a kick in the pants.

Kalyn at Kalyn’s Kitchen 

Kalyn was one of the first people to rally the food blogging community by getting us together at BlogHer. I still remember the wonderful Chinese food we had in Chicago at BlogHer 2007 and the lovely meal she and I shared at Sandra Bullock’s restaurant, Bess Bistro on Pecan, during SXSW 2009. She was also one of the first people I knew who quit their day job for blogging. (Actually Kalyn retired from teaching with a pension. Still it was impressive.) Over the years, her South Beach Diet blog has become even more gorgeous and professional looking. She and her blog are ones to emulate, for sure.

Vanessa at ChefDruck Musings

We’ve roomed together at BlogHer Food and Camp Blogaway. We’ve hung out with the Silicon Valley mom bloggers at BlogHer, and the funny people at the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Conference. We’re competing against each other in the Hillshire Farm’s Most Wanted Sandwich contest. We’re both French (though Vanessa’s waaaaay more French than me). Both our moms are breast cancer survivors. We like to spatchcock turkeys (mine) to chickens (hers). She’s smart, savvy and sweet and, like me, passionate about being a mom and making delicious food.  She’s my sister from another (French) mother.

Jennifer at Savor the Thyme

When it comes to making my food blogging more professional, Jennifer inspires me. We both struggle to make our blogs the best that they can be even while working around our kids’ schedules and our freelance gigs. Did I mention her food photography is getting more gorgeous every day? And that her healthy recipes at her blog and on Babble’s The Family Kitchen are oh-so-yummy? My mom used to tell me that when she played tennis with better players, her game improved. When I see what Jennifer’s doing, she motivates me to be a better healthy food blogger.

Marla at Family Fresh Cooking

Marla is about as big as my 10-year-old son and has more energy than a high school cheerleading squad. She’s talented. Honest. Funny. Insightful. Ambitious. A real dynamo and going places fast! We first met at the Good Egg Project's Farm to Table Tour, and I’ve seen her go from food blogging newbie to seasoned, expert food blogger in less than a year. Her blog is wonderful – delicious recipes, gorgeous photography, and amazing giveaways her readers love. Plus, she “walks the (healthy) walk,” from taking a jog at Camp Blogaway to carrying stevia extract in her purse. I know Marla’s going to go far, whether it’s a cookbook deal or her own cooking show on network TV. And I’ll be proud to tell others that I “knew her when.”

I hope you take time to visit these women at their wonderful food blogs.

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Back to Chicago for BlogHer09: fashion, food and lots of fun

BlogHer '09 In Real Life

The insanity that is the BlogHer conference returns to Chicago this year. I’m excited, nervous and already exhausted preparing for it by trying to get in as many workouts as I can before I go. Late nights at the conference means sleeping in as late as possible in the mornings, so no working out for me. All the running around will be exercise enough, I’m sure.

This also means that I won’t be blogging much if at all here at This Mama Cooks! Instead, check me out on Twitter. I’ll also be posting pictures (including food porn) at the This Mama Cooks! Facebook Fan Page.

Have black slacks/t-shirts/skirts/shorts – will travel

Even though we were told that we didn’t have to buy new clothes for the conference, I did because I’m down a dress size from last year (yay!) and last year’s stained t-shirts and baggy, faded capris weren’t cutting it, you know? I found some amazing bargains at Kohl’s (shorts and capris for around $16), Marshall’s (sandals for $20-30) , TJ Maxx (sterling silver earrings for $20), Christopher & Banks (a $16 red jacket), Chico’s (a $30 leopard print dress) and Sears (a $20 polka dotted dress). And I’m bringing a few blouses and a skirt from Blogher07, too.

Yes, I’m a bit of a clothes horse at times. (You should see my vintage dress collection.) Still, with people like Tim Gunn from Project Runway and Carson Kressley formerly from Queer Eye showing up, the pressure is on. Did I mention that I have an appointment with Suave celebrity stylist Luke O’Connor and his team to do my hair on Saturday? I’m a hostess at BowlHer and have to look my best, you know! (Ugh, me bowling. I’m terrible at it.)

I’m also bringing lots of comfy Danskin yoga pants (WalMart) and cotton t-shirts (Target) for the drive back and forth as part of the GM sponsored BlogHer Carpool. Thank goodness that I’m driving, because I’m not sure how I’d get all my clothes to the conference and all the swag home. It’s also a way to make sure I eat healthfully at least part of the time, since I’ll be bringing sandwiches, fruit and veggies to nosh in the car on the way there. Maybe we can stop at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s on the way back for snacks? I’m sure OnStar can help us figure that out.

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At BlogHer08 all I did was eat

Not only was BlogHer 08 about great sessions, amazing speakers, and awesome swag, it was also about food. The food at the conference was so-so (Pastries and fruit just don't cut it for breakfast. We need eggs, cereal, and yogurt in the morning, too, please!) But the food activities around the blogging conference were impressive. Sponsors included Boca Burgers and the Milk Board and of course there was all the incredible food and drink at the parties.


The first day I got to San Francisco, I checked myself into the Westin St. Francis’s workout facility and spa. After I did my 45 minutes on the stationary bike and had my massage, I checked in, unpacked and tried to take a nap. I had been up since 2 a.m. San Francisco time, and was exhausted. Yet, I couldn’t sleep because I was starving. Realizing I hadn’t eaten anything since 10 p.m. the evening before, I got dressed and looked for a place to eat.

I found hana Zen and had a satisfying lunch of hot green tea, cold soba noodles, and some vegetarian tempura. Then the real eating and drinking began – the BlogHer speaker/presenter party with chicken satay on bamboo skewers and lots of other teeny delectables passed around on trays by waiters in white coats. Then I headed downstairs to hang out with the Mom Central team and the real eating began.

Stacy DeBroff of Mom Central took out her staff, which includes me since I now heading up their social media project. I forget where we went the first night, but we had a lot of Asian fusion type of appetizers and hot tea. And I had a plate of steamed rice, which I got teased a bit about. (I was overwhelmed by food and booze and needed something plain and grounding.)


Rocco's Real Life Recipes Then there was the lunch with Chef Rocco Dispirito who is promoting Bertolli Premium Pasta Sauce along with his book Rocco's Real-Life Recipes. Like Ragu’s new pouch sauce, Bertolli’s is sweetened with carrot juice. It was tasty, though we didn’t get to try the pasta dish that Rocco cooked up and had boxed lunches from the hotel.

And Rocco? Handsome, charming, and a bit of a hard body. (I heard certain women were taking crotch shots. You know who you are!) I like Rocco’s idea of using short cuts to make fabulous meals when you don’t have time to cook. However, I thought he was a bit of a smart ass to Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen, but I guess Rocco managed to charm her anyway. Besides hanging out with Stef from A Year of Crockpotting, I didn’t have much of a chance to spend time with the food bloggers this year. Go by Kalyn’s blog to see her roundup of BlogHer foodie happenings and everything I missed. Too much to eat do and so little time!

The second night the Mom Central staff, friends, and clients went to Ana Mandara, which is across from the Maritime Museum and serves modern Vietnamese food. A gorgeous place with even more gorgeous food. I had the “Ebony and Ivory” dish – seared scallops, sweet black rice, with light kumquat marmalade sauce and asparagus. Fabulous! Of course, I forgot to take a picture of it and almost managed to lose my purse. I blame the wine, of course!


Then there was the BlogHer party at Macy’s – tables of cheese and crackers, Vialla Sandi Prosecco, Golden Star Sparkling Tea, and lots of little creations on trays and tables. Loved the tai noodles in the mini-Chinese take out cartons! However, by the time I got to the seventh floor, I was dazed, stuffed and confused having lost my camera and name tag (both quickly found thank goodness). So I grabbed a friend, found a couch, and talked, rested and digested until they kicked us out.

My BlogHer08 roommate, Jenette of Half of Me wrote that someone told her they should sell T-shirts that say I got fat at BlogHer. I totally agree.

Hana Zen on Urbanspoon

Ana Mandara on Urbanspoon

I’ll be having lunch with Chef Rocco at BlogHer

Rocco Dispirito A bunch of food bloggers and I are having lunch today with Chef Rocco DiSpirito at the BlogHer conference in San Francisco. He’ll be demonstrating how to use the new Bertolli Premium Pasta Sauce in a pouch to put a little sizzle back into date night at home. The new sauce from Bertolli makes it easier for the home chef to reconnect with loved ones, because the sauces offer convenience without sacrificing quality.

Date night at home? With two obnoxious kids who are wrecking my home when they’re not sleeping (yes, I’m having One of those Summers) that’s impossible. Still, I wonder how Bertolli’s sauce compares to a similar product Ragu recently released. I reviewed Ragu’s pouch sauce at My Readable Feast – see Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (and a little Ragu) and thought it was mighty tasty. I also liked that it was sweetened with carrot juice instead of sugar or corn syrup.

Rocco will also share one of his recipes and demonstrate how 90 seconds is all it takes to get a restaurant quality pasta sauce. (Can you say, “Microwave?”) After the short demo, Rocco hang out for questions, pictures, and conversation. Yay, picture taking ops! I’m so there with my Sony Cybershot DSCW170.

In the meantime, I leave you with some food, er, posts for thought:

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Post-BlogHer detoxing with some healthy fruit drinks

BH08-125x125-drinking In a few days I’ll be off to the BlogHer conference, which means a great deal of partying, drinking, noshing, and not enough sleep. I’m getting in early Thursday morning, so I’ll work out at the hotel gym before my massage. (I’ve been having back problems lately and haven’t had the time to book an appointment at home.)

Except for plenty of walking, I won’t work out until next week. Four days out of seven isn’t bad, but I’ve been trying to exercise five to six days per week this summer. Yes, the hotel gym is open early, but I know I’ll be out late. I need my sleep, and if there is one thing that makes me overeat is being tired.

I’ll try to make good choices when possible, but I want to indulge a little, too. I’ll make up for it when I get back home by trying some new recipes that I found in the August issue of Living magazine. They remind me of the concoctions in The UltraSimple Diet book.

Cherry-Berry Tea Smoothies
Tofu is a great source of protein and the fruit a great source of anti-oxidants.
Serves 4 – 2 Weight Watchers POINTS per serving



  1. Bring water to a simmer. Immediately remove from heat, and add tea bags. Let steep, uncovered, for 8 minutes. Discard tea bags. Refrigerate tea until cold, about 40 minutes.
  2. Puree tea, tofu, and fruit in a blender until smooth, and serve cold.

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Winners of the United States of Arugula giveawy

Us_of_arugula_4First, my apologies for not posting the winners sooner. TypePad had a major power outage this afternoon and was down at least four hours.

Before that I couldn’t even view my blogs – not because of TypePad, however. I had some hinky code on the sidebars of three of my blogs that kept crashing my computer and my laptop.

I managed to giveway half 6 of the 10 The United States of Arugula: The Sun Dried, Cold Pressed, Dark Roasted, Extra Virgin Story of the American Food Revolution. I guess all you foodies out there have already read it…sigh.

These lucky folks get a copy:

What? Your name have to begin with a K or a J to want a free book? How funny.

Late winners:


Food Blog of the Week – Make My Sushi

GreenrollDid you know that 13 pieces of California Roll sushi have only 9.5 Weight Watchers Flex Plan Points? So not only is sushi low in points, fat, calories, and healthy for you but it’s delicious as well. That’s why I love it, and most folks agree.

In the October 4, 2006 Newsday story, Sushi swims into unlikely waters, by Joan Remick, sushi was hailed as a comfort food by Manhattan-based restaurant consultant Clark Wolfe, who after 9/11 noticed that while:

…some Americans turned to comfort foods such as macaroni and cheese and meat loaf, others were seeking culinary solace elsewhere.

"After 9/11, sushi really did enter the vernacular as a comforting food," Wolf said. "A lot of people who wanted something clean and pure perceived sushi as something nutritious that was fun to eat and that was happening all over the country."

In his book The Nasty Bits, Anthony Bourdain mentioned that sushi is the favorite food of many chefs. He also has an interesting take on what he calls the sushi barrier. He believes once Americans accepted that sushi was normal culinary fare, it opened the door to all sorts of different and marvelous food.

TamagoSo with no further ado, I present this week’s Food Blog of the Week, Make My Sushi by Osowakki. O.K. it isn’t exactly a blog. It’s more like a website. Never mind, it’s got some really cool sushi guides using Flash animation, like this one for an inside out roll as well as recipes and tips.

Stop by Make My Sushi and tell Osowakki that This Mama Cooks! sent you.

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Food bloggers unite at BlogHer ’06

Welcome BlogHer Food Bloggers. It was terrific to meet some of you at the Birds of a Feather breakout session at BlogHer ’06. (For the rest of you, this was chronicled by Kalyn’s Kitchen and Elise of Simply Recipes.)

That’s me in the lower left hand corner of the picture looking directly at the camera.


Lucky me, I got both my food blogs mentioned, this one and A Readable Feast, on Elise’s and Kalyn’s blogs. Stop by their blogs and check the rest of the group out.

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